NEK, Rosatom form financial working group for Belene NPP project

MOSCOW, August 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The National Electric Company (NEK) of Bulgaria and Russia’s Rosatom have formed a financial working group for the Belene nuclear power plant project and have drafted the project roadmap, Atomstroyexport, the NPP general contractor, said on Friday.

“Russian and Bulgarian members of the financial working group, among them representatives of NEK, the Bulgarian Energy Holding and the Bulgarian Economy, Energy and Tourism Ministry, have met under the chairmanship of Rosatom Deputy General Director Kirill Komarov. The negotiations centered on financial structuring of the project,” the company said.

The sides presented the project roadmap to Bulgarian Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Traicho Traikov.

There had been some bumps in the project earlier. Atomstroyexport appealed to the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in July for collecting 58 million euros from NEK for the initial works in the Belene NPP project. The hearing of this lawsuit will be the first court proceeding in the relations between Atomstroyexport and the Bulgarian partner.

Later on NEK said it would file a 61-million-euro lawsuit vs. the Russian company, which it accused of failing the commitment to sell the old equipment stored on the construction site. The NEK chief executive officer said that the lawsuit would not be filed if Atomstroyexport decided to withdraw its lawsuit.

Atomstroyexport won the Belene NPP tender in 2005 and the deal was signed in November 2006. It was extended for three months in early July 2011, until September 30. By then the sides must give answers to a number of questions about the Belene project, including the level of the nuclear power plant’s security. Meanwhile, experts from the HSBC British bank will complete a market analysis of the project for Bulgaria.

Orders were placed at Russian, European and Bulgarian plants within the project and production of equipment started. No less than 30% of equipment, works and services will be provided locally.

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